Friday, September 14, 2012

A Day on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage

Earlier in the week I used a vacation day, got up before dawn and drove two hours north to the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage.  The above images is of a Northern Harrier skimming above the marsh grass looking for a snack.

This was my very first trip to the flowage and I concentrated my efforts to the area designated as the “volunteer quiet area”.  It’s an incredible place and pretty challenging photography terrain.  Snaking through the many “S” bends of marsh grass in my kayak I could often see birds up ahead just waiting to have their photos taken – a great blue heron, this northern harrier, bald eagles, even a pair of trumpeter swans.  The challenge was getting close enough to get the photo, however.  Despite volunteering my version of quiet, the thousands upon thousands of ducks resting just off the “beaten path” in the tall grass weren’t having any of it.  With an explosion of wings every 10 or 15 minutes as I quietly paddled/coasted myself along, the vast majority of the other flowage inhabitants took their cue and made their own exits to less accessible venues.

Later in the morning the wind REALLY picked up which might have helped me out in the “noise department”, but wasn’t doing me any favors in the kayaking activities.  It was so rough that I could have had a bald eagle sit on the front of the kayak and not gotten a photo of it either because of being tossed about or the spray landing on the lens.  As a result I ended up leaving a whole lot of wilderness unexplored.

While I doubt a return trip is in the cards yet this fall, this is definitely a place I’d like to investigate further.  Have you been on the flowage? Any advice on where to concentrate one’s efforts in search of birds and other wildlife?


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